It doesn't take long to get the gist of Steve Piper's latest solo album, "Mirror." The warm sounding nature of the folk-country tunes combine with his relaxed, straightforward vocals, making this record a comfortable fit for anyone in search of a mellow vibe. Piper, a guitarist for local act Watkins & the Rapiers, began recording "Mirror" two years ago but put the project on hiatus for financial reasons. He finally completed the album last November at his basement home studio, Barking Dog, using vintage gear, including a thrift shop organ.
The opening number "Saturday Night" is an all-around gem. Right off the bat, Piper's voice and skillful guitar work bring to mind a range of artists from classic-era Neil Young to present-day Nick Lowe. The album's second track "Pastures," a tune co-written with bandmate Scott Regan, is well crafted and sweet — sad lyrics reminisce about days gone by. Piper's penchant for reflection is shared in other tunes, like "Face in the Mirror" and "It Never Gets Old." It takes time to make music as charming as this. But for songs this well-constructed, it's worth it.